This week, Laurier 4 Palestine (L4P), one of Wilfrid Laurier University’s working groups within the Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group (LSPIRG), is advocating on behalf of Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW).
IAW began in 2005 in Toronto as a way to shed light on the struggle that Palestinians have been experiencing. Isra Al-Thibeh, one of the co-presidents of L4P, explained that Palestinians have been struggling for the past 65 years.
“Palestinian people are deprived of basic human rights in the West Bank and in Gaza,” she said. “There’s little if any aid that goes in and out … so our purpose is to inform people of this.”
L4P has been, and will continue to, host a series of events this week for students at Laurier in order to spread awareness and educate students on the current issues within Palestine.
“The goal for Israel Apartheid Week, for L4P, is to reach the students who don’t really know about the conflict,” said Fatima Attia, the second co-president of L4P. “We aim to shed light on the humanitarian crisis more than anything, so that’s our main goal.”
Attia also noted that it is important to spread awareness of this situation on university campuses.
“University is one of the places where we build our characters more than anywhere else, and we have that freedom to do so,” she explained. “Every individual has their own passion, and if you bring that passion to where people are wondering and learning, and are open to new ideas, then it really creates a bigger global awareness and that’s how we change the world, from heart to heart.”
On Tuesday, L4P had built a simulation of the apartheid wall that exists along the West Bank.
The wall, which was covered in graffiti and artwork that appears on the actual wall, also expelled sounds of gunfire and bombs going off.
The wall was meant to symbolize both the hope and fear that civilians there experience on a daily basis.
“There’s a lot of symbolism behind it all, and it’s a real thing — it segregates, and it’s important for people to know that this wall isn’t a good thing, it needs to come down,” explained Al-Thibeh.
According to Attia, L4P’s goals with the wall, and other events they hosted, were to educate students at Laurier about the crisis that is still occurring.
“Our goal this week is to kind of shed light on to those truths, on our truths about why this is such a passionate issue for ourselves, and why this is an issue that our society should take notice of, and that we should work together to do something,” she said.
Al-Thibeh echoed Attia’s comments about the importance of raising awareness and educating students in order to eventually bring about positive change.
“Not many people know about it and there hasn’t been a lot of activism, especially in this community,” she said. “There’s parallels between this and other past atrocities [and] this isn’t any less important than them and this is our opportunity to shed light on it.”